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August 4, 2006

Comments On Democracy In The Middle East From A Non-Expert

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

Before I began my very brief commentary, some disclosures are needed in order that you take everything I say with a grain of salt. You see, I am a scientist and businessman, and although I have worked and lived throughout the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, political science is definately not one of my expertises. I live in a true democracy, that is, we have no organized militias that exist as a separate entity of their own that make decisions that affect our entire nation, without our full knowledge and approval. I have no expertise in sociology, psychology (although some might say that I should see one), human behavior (as a kid, mine was bad), or any other "-ology" that has to do with anything that makes me an expert on anything remotely associated with understanding how to make democracy work in the ME. So for now, let's just call this South Georgia farmboy philosophy.

This having been said, I'm going to throw out a few observations about democracy in the ME that make a lot of sense to me but may make no sense to everyone else. But since I'm doing the writing for now, like it or not, here goes:

  1. You cannot have a democracy with an armed militia operating within your country. This is an automatic no-go and a clear signal that no real democracy exists. Look at Iraq, the Palestinians, and Lebanon.
  2. You can't have religious clerics in charge of your country - that's not a democracy and the free elections aren't free - they are controlled by the clerics and the freedom to vote isn't free - it comes at a huge cost to individual freedom and life. Look at Iran (it's a Constitutional Republic - a non-democratic Republic).
  3. Democracy is not necessarily for everyone - it requires a mature culture. A tribal or bedouin society makes for a breeding ground for conflict and may work in the dessert when there is little to no interaction with the modern world, but for the most part, as soon as you throw in a mix of religious fanatics that have no tolerance for anyone's beliefs other than their own, you've got a serious problem - democracy won't work, just give them guns, back off, and let the dust settle for a few hundred years and see what comes out. That's what we should do in Iraq - simply move all our troops over to Kurdistan and let them go shopping and drink coffee (it will help the economy), let the Sunnis have a "Sunniland," the Shi'as have a "Shi'iteland," give them extra weapons, then wait a few years and let the culture "mature," or ripen - however you wish to descibe the process of the conversion of a waring tribal/bedouin/religious culture to one that finally leaves the dark ages and joins the modern world, and has a truly secular government in which all people of all faiths and those with no faith at all have an equal opportunity to voice their opinions and live their lives in peace and harmony with eachother and with their own prejudices without being persecuted for them.
  4. As far as surival of the world in order that there can be democracies (or tribes can continue to exist for those cultures that prefer a desert societal existance), dancing around the issue of militant Islam and terrorism is only going to get the world killed dead. Although there does exist this thingy called the ummah, and yes a lot of Muslims have an affinity to gravitating to the "Islam is a nation instead of the country that gives you your freedoms" thingy, there are a hell of a lot of Muslims in the world that are not jihadists and are not necessarily all wrapped up in that dark age mentality. Instead, they are involved with getting along in their lives, having jobs, getting their kids educated, going to the mall, and barbecuing on the weekend. On the other hand there are a hell of a lot of closet jihadists in every community and we need the help of our "getting along with their lives" Muslims to beat this jihadi thing so we can all go on "getting on." This having been said, we better damned well come down hard on this radical Islam thing and the states that support it - particularly Iran and Syria, or the word "holocaust" is going to have an all new meaning - as in dead planet.

All this having been said, I'll now sit back, don my hardhat, open a Guiness draft, and leave it up to the experts to solve the world's problems. I just hope they do it in a hurry before Ahmadinejad, the mad mullahs, the crazed clerics, and the "convert the world under the caliphate" crowd get's stopped before the world is destroyed in a mushroom cloud. Should that occur, the price of Guiness will surely rise out of the reach of my present beer budget.

Originally posted at Freedom's Zone.

Posted by Richard at August 4, 2006 3:50 PM

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